Bike touring in Provence

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 21-27, 1996
Bike touring in Provence
Desert backpacking adventures
Hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains
Camping on California's north coast
Backcountry hikes in Montana and Wyoming

Bike touring in Provence
Question: I have a friend who asked me to get on the Internet and find out about bicycling tours in Provence. Got any recommendations?

Graham Banks
Chicago, IL
[email protected]

The countryside of Provence is as much a draw to cyclists as the area's famous cuisine
Adventure Adviser: Tell your friend that he/she's in luck. A whole slew of outfitters run group bike tours to Provence, one of Europe's primo destinations for two-wheeled travelers. One major plus about skinny-tire touring--especially with seasoned pros who have already scouted out the best cafes in advance--is that it's possible to eat yourself silly every night without gaining obscene amounts of weight.

Butterfield & Robinson offers four separate trips through the region, ranging from five to eight days and starting at a land cost of $2,255 per person. Nights are spent in plush chateaux along the way. Carbo-loading for the 35-mile days shouldn't be a problem: You'll have ample opportunity to gorge yourself on distinctive Provençal cuisine as you pedal through medieval hill towns and olive groves. Blue Marble Travel also offers a seven-day inn-to-inn trip out of the Nimes for a land cost of $1,395 per person.

If your friend's looking for something a bit more rugged, he/she can always forego elegant evenings in local castles for nights spent camping amidst thick oak forests and lavender fields. Backroads' seven-day spin through the Luberon and Vaucluse region of Provence costs $1,048 per person, not including international airfare.

For more information and summer departure dates, call the outfitters directly: Butterfield & Robinson (800-678-1147), Blue Marble Travel (201-326-9533), Backroads (800-462-2848).

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